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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Democratic Draft Reinstatement Bill is for REAL!

Politicians make a lot of claims, so I wanted to see for myself if Democrats
really are sponsoring a bill to reinstate the draft. I found it on the
Library of Congress web site and it's TRUE! You can visit the site and see
for yourself:



The "Universal National Service Act" states that "It is the obligation of
every citizen of the United States...who is between the ages of 18 and 26 to
perform a period of national service...the President shall...determine the
number of persons...whose service is to be performed as a member...of the
uniformed services; and...select the individuals among those persons who are
to be inducted for military service under this Act...the period of national
service performed by a person under this Act shall be two years."

The Senate sponsor is Ernest Hollings, D-SC; and the House sponsor is
Charlie Rangel, D-NY. Cosponsors in the House are Abercrombie, D-HI;
Conyers, D-MI; Lewis, D-GA; McDermott, D-WA; and Stark, D-CA.

There's a scene in the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" where Congressman John
Conyers tells Michael Moore, "Sit down my son. Uh, we don't read most of the
bills." Well, Conyers is one of the cosponsors of this bill!

Charlie Rangel, the House sponsor, said the bill, which does not allow
college deferments, is intended to discourage war by drafting the rich as
well as the poor:


If this bill passes, however, it won't matter why it was introduced, and I
am not at all encouraged by Kerry's Iraq strategy:


He wants a "High Commissioner" who is "highly regarded by the international
community and who has the credibility and capacity to talk to all the Iraqi
people." I don't see any mention of getting the U.S. oil interests out of
Iraq. I doubt his "massive training effort to build an Iraqi security force"
will succeed if those forces are seen as protecting U.S. control over the


"John Kerry will temporarily increase the size of the active-duty Army by
40,000 troops so that we have the force structure for the challenges we
face." This is from his own web site!


This page from Kerry's site calls for a "New Army of Patriots" and says
"John Kerry believes that in these times, we need to bolster these efforts
with a nationwide commitment to national service."

Kerry has said "If you elect me president ... I will give us a foreign
policy that absolutely makes it unnecessary to have a draft." To me, this
leaves the door open to reinstate the draft as a result of Bush's failed
foreign policy. I have an email in to the Kerry campaign, asking if he would
veto S. 89 and H.R. 163, but I haven't heard back yet.


Friday, June 25, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 Movie Review

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and it was very good. The nearly-full suburban Southdale theater applauded at the end of the 4:00 showing.

The movie shows how terrible Bush is. From a Nader perspective, while many might want to blame us for Bush’s election, I’m still convinced the system as a whole is broken. I’m glad that Nader is the peace candidate, as opposed to Kerry, who wants to "stay the course" in Iraq.

Part of the movie showed congresspeople of color from the House of Representatives who wanted to speak about the disenfranchised voters in Florida before a joint session of Congress, but were unable to do so because not a single Senator, Democrat or Republican, would move in favor of it. Al Gore presided over the session.

Another part talked about how a harmless peace group was infiltrated by a deputy sheriff as part of a Patriot Act counterterrorism unit. Another guy was visited by the FBI after criticizing Bush. I guess you can’t be too careful!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Movie Reviews

Here are some movies you can mention to your friends, depending on how political they are. I've seen them and they all have progressive content:

The Day After Tomorrow -- Global warming melts freshwater ice into the North Atlantic, stopping ocean currents and triggering a superstorm and a new ice age. While even the lead character climatologist in the movie doesn't think it could happen that fast, it still makes for a great disaster movie.

Saved! -- Teenagers at a Christian high school deal with social issues. When the lead character finds out her boyfriend is gay, she tries to make him straight and accidentally gets pregnant. The movie doesn't preach to anybody, and I think it does a good job of showing all viewpoints, regardless of religion.

The Control Room -- This documentary gives us a sampling of what 40 million Arabs see on the Al Jazeera TV network. It shows how we killed one of their reporters, and how the statue-toppling celebration was staged. It shows the violence of the war, an unsanitized version.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Partisan Shots at the Reagan Memorial

While not as obvious as at the Wellstone memorial, the Reagan eulogists also used the national stage to advance a political agenda. The first speaker mentioned inflation without mentioning the deficit. Dennis Hastert said "against the advice of the timid." And Dick Cheney spoke of "the shining city on the hill" without mentioning our hypocrisy and oppression in the third world. They got in their partisan shots, they were just better disguised.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

My take on the 2004 Minnesota Green Party Convention

Presidential candidate addresses Green Party convention Friday

By Brad Swenson
Staff Writer

"Saying the party needs to strengthen its foundation from the grass roots,
Minnesota Greens on Friday prefer no endorsement for president."

I was distubed by the following excerpt:

"When Nader supporters asked for time to speak for Nader, they were shouted

Is this true? If so, I am very disappointed. I don't mind that the party
decided to endorse the "no candidate", but shouting down a minority position
is not acceptable. I'd like to hear what happened from someone who was

Eric Oines
North Minneapolis


Yes, we got a couple of delegates for you. I was one of the Nader
supporters that was shouted down. I probably should have prepared more and
spoke up sooner, but I really thought somebody else would step forward.
Sure missed you, but Karen Carlson served your district dauntlessly.

Basically, here's what I said, in paraphrased form:

"Just because Bush is bad doesn't mean that Kerry is acceptable, and if
you're for NOTA then that's who you help. If Kerry is elected, current
consumption will continue, and the oil will run out, with severe
consequences. Kerry just tells people what they want to hear, and he does
flip flop, so the Republicans are probably right on that one. Kerry voted
for the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, NAFTA, Most
Favored Nation treatment for Communist China, ethanol, even though it takes
about a gallon of ethanol to make a gallon of ethanol, and a non-universal,
non-singlepayer health care plan. It's not too late for us to put Nader on
the ballot in Minnesota. He got the Reform Party endorsement, which
increases our numbers, and he was right about the ballot access deadlines."

I guess I spent most of my speech ripping Kerry, but then had some good
things to say about Nader toward the end. Apparently I went over a minute
so people started heckling me. The first time I got shouted down was when I
announced my caucus and started elaborating on my position, but I don't
care, to heck with the hecklers!

I still like Cobb, and enjoyed his speech. One of our delegates defected to
his caucus, but if I had to choose another caucus, that would be it. We had
11 and they had 24, so after he left we had 10 and they had 25, so they were
able to get a 5th delegate to national and we kept our 2, who are Rhoda
Gilman and Dorian with alternates Robert Cook and Travis... After the
initial walking subcaucuses, I looked to Cobb delegate Michael Cavlan for
advice on who to support for at-large congressional district and state
delegates. I didn't want to vote for a NOTA person if I could help it.

The NOTA lit insists that they're not for Kerry, they just want to
concentrate on local races, lay low, and keep from ticking off the Democrats
too much. They struck me as bold cowards, but Mike said he respects that
they're just doing what they think is best for the party.

I get the impression the Green Party has become somewhat cliquish, and by
passing up our nomination, Nader was able to do what we couldn't do alone:
Reach out and expand the progressive base, with a chance to unify the Reform
and Green Parties and double our numbers. One Cobb supporter said Nader's
positions have shifted on any number of issues, but I don't sense that. I
don't think it's like Jesse Ventura trying to get us to adopt his agenda.
Rather I see it as the Reform Party people in agreement with Nader's
positions, which, to the best of my knowledge, are still in line with Green
Party values.

Here is a summary of the results:

9 - No Candidate and No Candidate/No Imperialism
5 - David Cobb
2 - Ralph Nader
2 - Undecided
1 - Energy Issues, etc.
... plus 8 congressional district delegates and one at-large delegate.

Tom Cleland
44B, Golden Valley